A Swedish echo of "Short Cuts," "Expectations" is a likable yarn comprising a handful of intertwined stories of everyday life. A bit too casual for widespread appeal, the new film by Daniel Bergman has some potential for specialized release but will primarily connect with Scandinavian and Northern Euro crowds.

A Swedish echo of “Short Cuts,” “Expectations” is a likable yarn comprising a handful of intertwined stories of everyday life. A bit too casual for widespread appeal, the new film by Daniel Bergman has some potential for specialized release but will primarily connect with Scandinavian and Northern Euro crowds.

Based on a series of short stories by Reider Jonsson (“My Life as a Dog”), the film attempts to bring drama to often banal situations. Jumping-off point is a train ride in which the principals are introduced. There is a bickering couple with a young daughter who are about to seek a divorce, a young man on his way home to reconcile with his fisherman father, a young sightseeing Slavic couple, twentysomething lovers, and an older man and woman about to embark on a liaison.

Also skirting through the tale is a striking young woman with deep blue eyes meant to symbolize the unfathomable nature of life and fate.

Stories vary in dramatic strength, but mainly each is effective thanks to the picture’s appealing cast. Nonetheless, the low-key observations of family life and colorless jobs seem better suited to the intimacy of TV. Characters don’t arrive at earth-shaking revelations, and the plot is familiar.

Tech credits are high-caliber, with Bergman providing a striking visual catalog of the country as the narrative threads lead to various parts of Sweden. “Expectations” is based on a collection titled “Swedish Heroes,” and both tags convey a gentle irony about the often boring nature of everyday life. Pic is a pleasant antidote to overblown contempo movies, but not quite novel or humorous enough to grab hold of a significant audience.

Expectations

Swedish

Production

A Svensk Filmindustri production. Produced by Waldemar Bergendahl, Kerstin Bonnier. Directed by Daniel Bergman. Screenplay, Reider Jonsson, based on his book "Swedish Heroes."

Crew

Camera (color), Esa Vuorinen; editor, Darek Hodor; music, Nicke Frisk; art direction, Bengt Froderberg; costume design, Inger Pehrsson; sound (Dolby SR), Bo Persson, Klas Engstrom; casting, Catti Edfeldt. Reviewed at World Film Festival, Montreal (competing), Aug. 29, 1997. Running time: 106 MIN.

With

Margareta - Lena Endre
Allan - Hans Klinga
Eva - Gunnel Lindblom
Carita Swensson - Anki Liden
Jonny - Nicke Olund
Lisa - Cajsa-Lisa Ejemyr
Leon - Kent Arne Dahlgren
Sixten - Stefan Sundstrom
Viking Larsson - Janne Carlsson
Egon - Keve Hjelm
The Economist - Bjorn Jranath
Helena - Renata Danciewiecz
Isador - Antti Reini
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